Today’s healthcare models now prioritize patient care and population health, along with a new emphasis on quality measurement and payments based on value and outcomes as opposed to quantity and system utilization. CIOs must assume new roles: agent of change and IT implementer. They are rolling out tools and devices for clinicians to use across care settings while driving strategy and innovation alongside C-level executives at the boardroom table.
It’s not enough to know that change is occurring; rather, we must be aware at a granular level of the many factors influencing it. It’s the difference between knowledge and understanding, and between reacting and effective action. Understanding healthcare CIOs’ goals and priorities is a vital and ongoing part of aligning our organizational priorities with our customers’ issues and concerns.
Last week, we had the honor to meet over two days with our Executive Client Council (ECC), a group of C-level executives from the nation’s leading healthcare systems, to continue to build and refine our awareness and understanding. We learned quite a bit about their priorities and goals – and how we can continue to build the ‘must-have’ technologies to support them.
Earlier this year we also we engaged in a survey of CIO priorities and goals with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). This effort uncovered the following key priorities:
Cybersecurity and malware prevention: With healthcare data breaches happening daily in 2017, cybersecurity is overwhelmingly the top priority for CHIME CIOs. System security is a prerequisite for achieving their other goals in cloud-based system optimization, patient engagement, satisfying regulatory requirements, and driving growth. Likewise, ensuring customer trust and confidence through the security, privacy, and resiliency of our solutions also remains a top priority for Nuance. You can view cybersecurity as much of an enabling technology as speech recognition, deep-learning AI algorithms, and cloud connectivity.
Optimizing IT systems: CHIME CIOs view IT system and electronic health record (EHR) optimization, usability, and ROI as a way to both increase the value of these solutions and mitigate provider burnout. Related concerns include finding and retaining qualified IT talent, data analytics, and patient engagement platforms. EHR optimization is a key area of outreach for Nuance as well, including the recent completion of a pilot program at Brigham Health.
Physician Burnout: The heavy administrative and reporting requirements on physicians – with as much as two hours of computer time needed for every hour spent on patient care – is a serious industry-wide concern. CHIME CIOs cite EHR optimization, speech recognition, and mobile device use as the three most effective technologies for addressing burnout.
Artificial Intelligence: Two-thirds of CIOs plan to deploy AI-based solutions over the next three to five years. The remaining CIOs intend to focus first on other organizational priorities. Nuance initiatives, including the cloud-based Nuance AI Marketplace for Diagnostic Imaging, lay the groundwork for widespread AI adoption going forward.
Data Governance: Healthcare data governance is still a work in progress at many healthcare organizations — and understandably so, as it relies on and affects the success of other priority areas. Managing health information throughout its lifecycle is vital to treatment documentation, payment, research, outcomes improvement, and government reporting. It’s also central to accomplishing the broader goals of improving patient experiences and population health, as well as reducing healthcare costs.
Healthcare Consumerism: As consumers become more involved in their own medical choices, they will have the same expectations for healthcare as they do for their shopping, financial, and other day-to-day decisions. This shift brings a corresponding focus on patient experiences and demonstrated outcomes.
The March to the Cloud: With more than 70 percent of hospital IT systems now cloud-based, two-thirds of CIO budgets are going to cloud-based solutions to drive EHR optimization, patient experiences, and other areas. In fact, one CIO who responded to the survey highlighted his organization’s plans to converge all devices into the EHR, and then migrate the EHR to the cloud.
At Nuance, we are committed to continuing our focus on these priorities and goals, as we believe they are vital to our customers’ success. We recognize, of course, that CIOs face a variety of challenges in this transformative era. From tech challenges and aligning IT with business goals and outcomes to managing relationships, skills, resources, and budgets, we know that in partnership with the CIO, we can have a profound impact on the future — together.
Building and maintaining awareness and understanding through our regular discussions with the ECC and the CHIME survey truly make the difference between being changed through passive reaction, and creating change with awareness, resilience, and strength.